Skiing tips for beginners. What to expect.
An article for the inexperienced / level one (never skied before)
Planning to hit the slopes for the first time this winter? The scenery, fresh air, and the feeling of flying down the hill make skiing an unforgettable experience.
Being new to skiing as an adult can be challenging, but with the right equipment and mindset, you can even discover a new favorite winter hobby.
To help you get started, here are some tips on how to get in shape, what gear you need, what to wear, and more!
Get in Shape
Skiing is a unique activity that engages muscles that are not typically used in your daily routine. Even if you are active and athletic, skiing uses those muscles differently.
Even though people of all fitness levels can enjoy skiing, this rule applies: the more fit you are, the faster you will learn to ski.
So to improve, you'll need to focus on strengthening your core and leg muscles, particularly your quads and calves. Don't overdo it at the gym. Just add some lunges and squats into your daily routine and opt for the stairs instead of the elevator.
Remember to include stretching in your routine. Also practicing yoga can be especially beneficial for strengthening your muscles.
Look for the right Ski Resort
To make the most of your ski trip it might be a good idea to book your accommodation near the beginner area. This way, you won't have to carry your equipment for long distances, which can be challenging when you're not yet used to walking in ski boots.
How fast can I learn to ski?
Skiing can be a challenging sport for beginners, as it requires a different way of balancing than what we’re used to. However, it's a skill that can be learned at any age. Here's what you can do:
• Take up some lessons
We think it's important to invest in lessons to have a solid foundation, even if you have friends who ski and offer to teach you. A qualified instructor will help you develop proper techniques and avoid developing bad habits.
Remember that trying to ski without instruction can result in severe injuries.
Your instructor will teach you things like:
- how to use your equipment, your ski poles
- how you stand on your skis
- how to slow down, go faster, turn and stop
- which color ski trails are for you, and which do you need to avoid
- how to use the lifts and how to keep safe
• Don’t rush the process
It can take up to four days of lessons before you have the confidence to ski on your own. The classes are usually a couple of hours in the morning, with the rest of the day all to yourself to practice and have some fun on the slopes.
Skiing is easy to learn but difficult to master, so be patient with yourself. Concentrate on proper technique, learn at your own pace and don't push yourself too hard too fast.
• Know when to take a break
Skiing burns a lot of energy, so make sure you eat and drink enough. If you feel tired, just stop and rest for a while.
Relax in the evenings. Don't deplete your energy by trying to get in one last run. Rest up for the upcoming day, and your muscles will thank you. You can try a massage, stretching, or a yoga session that can help with aches and pains.
The gear you need to ski
Starting a new sport can be exciting, and it might be tempting to purchase equipment you don't need or isn't the right one for you. Avoid this by borrowing, renting, or buying only the basics.
Borrowing equipment can be a good option, but it also has its drawbacks. The gear may not fit you properly. Additionally, if you damage what you borrowed, you may have to pay for it.
Renting equipment is a great way to try out skiing before committing to buying your gear. Most ski resorts have rental shops where you can find what you need. This way, you can swap out the gear if it doesn't fit or feel properly.
But if you want to buy your own gear, start with the basics: a helmet, goggles, and ski boots, and rent the skis and poles from the resort.
• Ski Helmet
Make safety your top priority, and wear a helmet to protect your head in case of an accident. Choose one that's comfortable, fits your head perfectly, and has adjustable features.
To check if it fits well, gently shake your head, and if it moves then it's not the right fit, or try pushing the helmet from the outside, from side to side, and if it stays in place and doesn't shift, then it's a good fit.
• Ski Goggles
When picking out ski goggles, try to find a pair that fits comfortably over your helmet.
If you wear eyeglasses, choose goggles that fit over them, or maybe consider purchasing prescription goggles.
• Ski boots
Find a pair that fits you. They should feel snug, with some pressure points that don't cause you pain, have enough room to slightly wiggle your toes, and your heels should not lift when walking. Test the boots in-store, wear them for a while, and see how you feel.
Overall skiing can be an expensive sport, but if you decide to invest in quality equipment, then it can last you a long time. Start small and see how you feel about the sport before investing in more gear.
What to wear when skiing
Stay warm while skiing is a must, and because the weather can change at any moment during your time in the mountains, so knowing what to wear can protect you from freezing up or catching a cold. So when packing for your first ski trip, take into consideration the following:
To keep you warm and dry, wear insulated windproof, and waterproof pants, and don't think of wearing jeans on the slopes. For the base layer avoid cotton sweatpants, as they can absorb sweat and snow, making you feel cold. Instead, underneath your ski pants you can opt for long thermal underwear made of wool or synthetic material.
In general ski boots are designed to be warm and they have to be fitted on your foot, so the extra fluff from a plush sock isn't needed. Avoid cotton. Don't wear thick socks or more than one pair, as they can reduce circulation and make your feet cold. Ski socks or light wool socks are a better option.
• Shirt, sweater, and jacket
Wearing three layers is the best approach, as you can add or remove them as needed, depending on the temperatures outside.
The base layer should be a fitted shirt made from moisture-wicking material that keeps you dry. Avoid cotton as it can have the opposite effect.
The mid layer should regulate your body temperature. Here you can choose a fleece shirt or wool jumper. Finally, the outer layer should be a waterproof, windproof, and breathable jacket. It will help break the wind, and keep water off your second layer, but also allow the moisture to escape.
Avoid freezing numbed fingers, so keep them warm by wearing gloves. If you tend to have cold hands, mittens are a great option to keep them warm and cozy. And bring along an extra pair of gloves or mittens in case the first pair gets wet ;)
• Neck gaiter or Balaclava
Don’t forget about your face. It too needs protection against low temperatures.
A winter neck gaiter, also known as a neck warmer, is a tubular polar fleece that can be pulled down over your head to cover and protect both your neck and face from the cold.
Unlike a winter scarf, a neck warmer is compact, isn't bulky around the neck, is comfortable to wear, better at insulating than cotton, and is a better option for those who are allergic or sensitive to wool.
More about this in our article >> What is Polar Fleece?
A balaclava is a combination of a beanie, hood, face mask, and neck gaiter.
It's often referred to as a ski mask or ninja mask and covers your entire head and face, except your eyes. It can be worn underneath a ski helmet and is designed to be snug while still allowing you to breathe through the fabric.
We’ve covered this topic in this article >>> What is a Balaclava and Why do you need one
And now that you know, prepare for your first ski trip, dress appropriately, and get out there!
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